Nielsen: Holiday Music Booming In the Midwest
November 21, 2016 at 12:38 PM (PT)
NIELSEN's latest study of holiday music shows that the number of radio stations that swap out their regular formats during the holiday season has been rising, with some stations making the switch as early as HALLOWEEN. Of the 1,942 AM/FM radio stations monitored in 2015, 171 stations made the switch at this time of the year.
AC stations lead the way in holiday music, accounting for 43% of all airplay, with almost 2,800 titles. Christian AC follows, making up 22% of the holiday music airplay, with 432,000 spins and 1,763 titles.Classic Hits, Country and Adult Top 40 round out the top five formats, with a combined 20% play of holiday music airplay.
According to NIELSEN AUDIO, holiday music increases the share of listening for the format. AC stations saw their share of audience among listeners 6 and older jump an average of 72%, compared to the rest of the year. And the combined audience to the top AC holiday music stations across the top-10 markets has grown from 27 million weekly listeners (6 and older) in 2012 to 30 million in 2015, an 11% increase. This equates to a total of three million more AMERICANS tuning in to all-holiday music stations over the three-year period.
Bot surprisingly, the country's top three markets -- NEW YORK, LOS ANGELES and CHICAGO -- don't make the Top-5 when it comes to holiday music airplay. CLEVELAND tops the list with 48,000 plays, with three local stations generating more than 12,000 spins of holiday music. COLUMBUS, OH,, ranks second with 47,000, followed by DETROIT, with 46,000 plays.
The Top 10 most-played holiday songs make up less than 1% of the total library, but garner 19% of the airplay. The charts seem to have a fondness for the classics, even as MARIAH CAREY's now 20-year-old “All I Want For CHRISTMAS" Is You” ranked the highest in the number of streams, with approximately 44 million on-demand streams during the 2015 holiday period.
“Feliz Navidad,” released in 1970 by JOSE FELICIANO, led last year with 31,000 airplay spins, coming in at #16 with roughly 13 million on-demand streams.
When looking at sales, two versions of “Mary, Did You Know” are the #1 and #3 sales leaders, with JORDAN SMITH’s version, released in 2015, leading the pack with roughly 188,000 digital units sold.